The Retreat NZ is a private alcohol rehab centre grounded in the 12 Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous. Due to the long-term proven success of A.A., we find that by introducing our guests to the 12 Steps and the fellowship of Alcoholics Anonymous they are better set up for success upon leaving rehab as they’ve made the connection with an ongoing, wrap-around support system.  

What is the 12 Step Programme?

Alcoholics Anonymous (A.A.) started in 1935 in Akron, Ohio with one alcoholic helping another. By 1938 they had developed the 12 Steps as a practical step-by-step solution for alcoholism. Since then, the Steps have been adopted and adapted by many other groups including Narcotics Anonymous (N.A.) and Overeaters Anonymous (O.A.).


There are many benefits to being part of a 12 Step program including structure, accountability, spirituality and the understanding that comes from others who suffer from the same affliction as you.


The 12-Step program is a highly regarded and effective approach to tackling addiction and many drug and alcohol rehabs in New Zealand have adopted the 12 Steps as a framework for helping people find and maintain recovery – including The Retreat NZ. It’s a proven method that empowers participants with invaluable tools to stay sober one

What are the 12 steps of A.a.?

The 12 steps are a set of spiritual principles or tools which act as guides on the path of recovery – a set of actions to enable you to find a power greater than yourself to keep you sober.


  1. We admitted we were powerless over alcohol – that our lives had become unmanageable. In this step we admit complete defeat and recognise that we have lost the power of choice when it comes to alcohol. On our own power we cannot manage the choice not to drink and this makes our life unmanageable. 
  2. Came to believe that a power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity. After admitting our personal powerlessness in Step 1, we are now open to the idea that we need to find a power greater than ourselves to relieve us of our alcoholism.

  3. Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God, as we understood Him. This step encourages us to quit playing God and begin to trust that with our higher power our lives will be in much better hands.
  4. Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves. This honest self-appraisal allows us to explore our resentments, fears and conduct in personal relationships to discover the truth, identify the defects of character that are driving us and see where we have made mistakes.
  5. Admitted to God, ourselves and another human being, the exact nature of our wrongs. It is during this step that many of us get honest with ourselves and another understanding person for the first time. Sharing our inventory helps lighten our burdens and allows us to see things from an entirely different angle.
  6. Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character. This is where we identify and become ready to let go of the objectionable behaviour that has been causing us problems in our lives.
  7. Humbly asked God to remove our shortcomings. Once we have identified those character defects which have been tripping us up and are willing to live life differently, we ask to have them removed and align ourselves with God’s will for us.
  8. Made a list of all persons we had harmed and became willing to make amends to them all. Most alcoholics cause harm to others, especially when they were drinking. In this step we look at who we harmed and the exact nature of that harm and pray for the willingness to make things right.
  9. Make direct amends to such people, except when to do so would injure them or others. This is often the step where relationships begin to heal – where we front up to our mistakes and try to make them right wherever possible. 
  10. Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it. This step encourages us to take regular inventory and watch on a daily basis for those defects of character and clean up any mistakes along the way. 
  11. Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood him, praying only for knowledge of his will for us and the power to carry that out. As we continue to grow in recovery so does our connection to a higher power deepen.
  12. Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we try to carry this message to other alcoholics and practice these principles in all our affairs. There is a saying in A.A. that ‘you have to give it away to keep it’ and that means continuing to take the actions outlined above and helping others on this journey.

Why do people stay in A.A. after they've completed the steps?

Each individual will take the 12 Steps at their own pace, usually with the guidance of a sponsor or someone who has been through the programme themselves.  


Completing the 12 Steps doesn’t mark the end of involvement with the A.A. program. In fact, Step 12 encourages you to continue to practice the programme and help others to achieve sobriety through sharing what was shared with you.


Find out more about The Retreat NZ’s 30 day residential rehab programme for alcohol addiction and how we help separate guests from alcohol and begin their journey to recovery.


Learn more about alcoholism on our Resources page and read our Outcome Study